Mumbai Local

Vidhan Parishad polls may throw up surprises

Elections will be held for 11 seats of the Upper House  

With 11 seats in the Upper House of the Maharashtra State Legislature up for grabs, political parties have begun hectic planning to ensure maximum wins.

Out of the 11 members, 10 are to be elected by MLAs, with each candidate needing 28 votes to emerge victorious. The 11th member will be elected by representatives of civic bodies in Thane district.

The ruling BJP, with 122 members in the Vidhan Sabha, is set to win four seats comfortably. Party sources claim that the fifth candidate would be elected with the help of remaining votes and with the help of allies and Independents. Shiv Sena (62) has already declared that two of its ministers Subhash Desai and Divakar Raote will be their candidates, while remaining votes may switch to BJP, if needed.

While the Congress and the NCP can comfortably elect one candidate each, the latter is adamant on contesting two of the remaining three seats, leaving only one for the Congress. Among those who are completing their tenure are NCP bigwigs such as Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde and council chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, whom the party wants to retain in the council at any cost. Loss to any of the two candidates may hurt the party’s reputation.

A section in the Congress is unhappy with the NCP’s demand of contesting on two seats as it is the bigger party in the State Assembly. It may lead to yet another conflict within the Opposition. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said: “Our talks with the Congress are on, and we are finalising on contesting together. I do not think there would be any problem.”

Choice of candidates

Both the BJP and the Congress are maintaining strategic silence on the choice of candidates. Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Narayan Rane, who has already lost twice, is ready to contest yet again. “I will surely contest if the party gives me an opportunity,” he told The Hindu . He said he hasn’t asked for any ticket, but has shown his readiness, if the party asks.

Out of the five seats that BJP is hoping to win, two are likely from the party while three will go to allies. A number of names including Madhav Bhandari, Shaina NC, Sujit Singh Thakur are being discussed from the BJP’s side. Among the allies, Vinayak Mete, Sadabhau Khot, and one from Republican Party of India (RPI) are likely to get the ticket.

The 11th seat

NCP’s Vasant Davkhare, the deputy chairman of the council, who has been elected to the council for five consecutive times, is facing one of the toughest challenges ever in the form of Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Phatak. The election, scheduled for June 3, will have all elected representatives from local civic bodies, including Zilla Parishad, municipal corporation and municipal council, in Thane district vote for the either of the two.

Going by the numbers, the Sena-BJP alliance enjoys clear lead over the NCP leader. Out of the total 1,050 voters, the saffron alliance has 507 votes. All other parties, including Congress, NCP, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, Samajwadi Party, and MNS has 458 votes.

A senior Sena leader said: “He (Davkhare) cannot be underestimated by relying solely on these numbers. He enjoys good contacts across all party lines, and we have decided to take it seriously.”

The BJP, almost assured of winning four seats, is trying to get one more member elected

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:11:15 PM |

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